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swimming question


does anyone else have problems after going swimming?

my 4yr old is fine in the water and is learning to swim, he doesnt tend to be affected whilst in the pool BUT when he gets out he gets very tight chested and wheezy and has had quite a few minor attacks. asthma nurse said its to do with the sudden change of temps.

we have got problems as the school are starting swimming in 4weeks - outdoor pool! which i think is going to be worse than an indoor pool.

just curious really.

9 Replies

Have experience of this one too!! Son also loved swimming but as his asthma worsened he started reacting badly with the symptoms you describe. GP thought he was allergic to chlorine, also he was (is) very thin and felt the cold terribly when he got out of the pool. He'd shiver violently, cough etc and eyes puffy/bloodshot. We stopped swimming lessons when he was about 7/8 because he'd learnt the basics.

Re. primary school swimming - also an outdoor pool and very cold water. Made him ill so many times I completely withdrew him from swimming when he was about 8. School didnt like it but that was tough. Also withdrew him from secondary school swimming - altho pool was much warmer he became ill again.

He still loves swimming/playing in the water so he now goes in the hols, towel and ventolin on side of the pool! At least if he's not well for a couple of days afterwards he's not missing school!!


thanks for your reply.

i really dont want to stop him doing it as he is going to feel left out, but i know i am the 1 that will have to ""pick up the pieces"" and deal with his asthma later that day/evening and next day. the school will do their usual and send him home if coughing/wheezing after swimming.


I have problems around chlorine and these usually happen after a period of time of being near it..... for some reasons pools are far worse than spas etc for me - though I assume they all are treated in the same way?

My only way if assessing whether worth it or not is based on how I am in the leadup - if been at all chesty/any symptoms I don't go - especially as my symptoms start in the pool.... but often I maybe ok in the pool and then an attck occurs sometime afterwards usually upto 6 hours which is typical allergy pattern for me...

I would suggest antihistamines etc beforehand and inhaler etc - though your doc would suggest more...


OK, what you may need to find out is a combination of details from the pool.

1 the water temperature, under 29deg C but ideally 27deg C is best for swimming.

2, Chlorine levels, and there are two figures. First one if Free chlorine and most people only ask for that, don't worry about that one as it's used to keep the pool clean but usually between 1 and 3 parts per million. The important one is the combined chlorine level and that should never be more than 1 part per million, most are usually 0.5-0.8.

The combined chlorine figure depends on the water temperature and the number of users. Hotter the water and the busier the pool the higher the combined level is.

Chlorine is acknowledged by the HSE as causing respiratory problems, and I know it caused my asthma entirely. Many Kids in swim clubs without asthma will in certain pools cough and wheeze after swimming for that very reason.

Could try taking two puffs of ventolin 20 mins before swimming, then two more straight after getting out of the pool, funny though as outdoor pools tend to be better


thanks. i dont think its the chlorine as he would be affected in the pool. its the changein temp. his asthma is much worse in winter when its cold and damp.

the pool is on the school site so only the school use it. i know my eldest last yr said it was always cold in pool and then they had to get out and run round to the changing rooms where their towels etc were. which meant they got colder.

i dont miind son going swimming when on holiday or at w.ends as he then has next day to get back ok, but his school swimming is a tues and therefore hes going to end up with more time off.


the pool I use is always cold and the colder it is the better, when it's warm it affects me more. Winter is my worst for asthma as well. Just wonder if your little one could carry a towel, or sweatshirt out and leave poolside, run around in the cold air when wet you get really cold. Also what many don't realise is that you loose body heat 70times faster in cold water or if you're wet.


I swam competativly from a number of years and experienced none of these symptoms and had asthma before I started swimming. I found that lap swimming helps my lung function. Although I do know of people this happened to.

I was wondering if the kids react to the cold at any other time?

My alternate answer to this is Specific Gravity. When in water you weigh less therefore less pressure on the lungs. Come out of pool more pressure and weight on chest.


ails - he is fine in the water and can almost swim, its when he gets out. he is much worse in the winter months when its cold and wet.

2yrs ago he was off playschool from nov through to feb as it was asthma attack followed by chest infection by asthma etc. he wasnt so bad last yr but he was off more than he was at school.


Thanks Amy thats clearer now that it happens when he is cold all the time rather than just after swimming. If possible as woody-som said put a top ready for him coming out and also a pair of jogging bottoms pool shoes - speedo do ones kid size like flip flops but with better grip for on side of pool.

The trick for the pressure change bringing on asthma. Is to come out of the pool slowly eg, use ladder and count to 5 before going up each rung/step. This allows for the change in pressure to balance out.


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